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Week 7-8: 17-26 February 2019

Our last week started with a couple of self-study days, on which most of us went to the DAIK library to work on our papers. On Sunday we also had a seminar about Dayr al-Barsha at the NVIC, specifically about the burial practices on the South Hill, while on Monday there was a lecture at ARCE from Marianne Eaton-Krauss about The Role of Connoisseurship in the Study of Egyptian Art. She told us about how only in a few places in the world art history is taught, that connoisseurship in general is not often developed anymore, and she elaborated on the problems regarding forgeries. She further discussed a catalogue of the statues of Amun that survived the iconoclastic phase of the Amarna period.

On Tuesday we went again to an archaeological site, namely Saqqara. We first visited the Djoser complex, which was mainly reconstructed by the French excavator Jean-Philippe Lauer. The complex houses the courtyard, in which the Heb-Sed festival was held, a southern tomb and some dummy buildings, like the house of the North (papyrus) and of the South (lily). Afterwards we visited the tomb of Mehu, who was vizier under Teti, where Sid gave his site presentation. It is a very interesting tomb were a couple of cute hedgehogs are depicted. We also went inside the pyramid of Unas, the first one to be decorated with pyramid texts. Thereafter we visited the New Kingdom tombs of Maya & Meryt and of Horemheb. The next tomb we visited belonged to Mereruka, whose reliefs are from an extra-ordinary quality. The depictions in his tomb of certain landscapes are very detailed and lively. Afterwards we went to have a look at the various Apis-burials in the Serapeum. The sarcophagi are quite impressive! Last but not least, we had a quick visit in the Bubasteion, more specifically into the tombs of Maya (the wet nurse of Tutankhamun) and Netjeruimes (the main diplomat of Ramses II, who arranged the piece treaty with the Hittites). Saqqara is a very beautiful site, which all of us will certainly explore more in the near future.

Sid's site presentation at Saqqara
The class of 2019 at the Serapeum

On Wednesday and Thursday it was again time for self-study at the DAIK library to work on our papers. On Thursday evening Amr Omar gave the weekly lecture at NVIC about Abu Bakr Cemetery Revisited: New Archival Materials. Abu Bakr was an Egyptian Egyptologist who worked on different sites like Giza, Tuna el-Gebel, and Aniba. He did not have the chance to publish all of his excavations and the project from AUC is trying to have a new look at his archives to encounter more information about Abu Bakr himself and the sites he worked on. A very interesting lecture!

Friday was, as usual, our day off, although most of us worked on our papers. On Saturday it was time for the GARDEN conference (Graduate Annual Research Discussions on Egypt and Nubia VI), where young researchers are given the chance to present their research, specifically focusing on methodology. Some of us spoke, while others presented a poster. It was a very nice day and a good learning experience.

Poster presentations at GARDEN VI

Sunday was more or less the last day we could work on our papers, so everyone of us rushed to the DAIK library. In the evening there was a lecture from José Pérrez-Accino about Newest Research in the Royal Cache Wadi, Luxor West bank, at the Ministry of Antiquities. The project focuses on the numerous inscriptions found in the wadi and uses techniques like Geographic Information System and photogrammetry. A very interesting talk!

On Monday we all went to the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir for the presentations regarding the various objects we chose for our papers. Ellen told us something about the offering table of Mersu-ankh, while Sid talked about his database research concerning the Old Kingdom sarcophagi in the museum. Marija spoke about a necklace from Amarna, Elise about wigs from the 21st dynasty, Anneke about a rather large statue of Taweret, Lauren about a Demotic papyrus and Elien about Greek tax-receipts on ostraca. Hanna told us about an ostracon figuring a dog, while Audrey talked about a jackal-shaped animal mummy. Finally Veerle discussed the sieves from the museum. In all, a varied selection of topics.

On our last day, yes it went very fast, we went to Bubastis in the Delta, where Eva Lange just started her season of work. After a long drive we could see the remains of the temple of Bastet,  and the remains of the only archaeologically attested ka-house, namely that of Pepi I. It was a very nice last day. In the evening we had our goodbye party on the rooftop terrace of the NVIC. Unfortunately, this was the end of the Cairo Semester. I think we all had a lot fun, learned a lot of things and were very happy to finally see in real life the monuments and objects we learned so much about in class. Fursa sa’ida Misr, ma’a salaama! We will all certainly come back!

Lauren Dogaer

On the way to the ka-temple of Pepi I at Bubastis
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